By Wayne Drash, CNN
(CNN) - The pregnant 12-year-old girl was strung out on heroin and looked like a walking skeleton when she arrived at the hospital. The conversation that followed, said Phoenix police chaplain John South, has stuck with him ever since.
“Do you know who the father is?” South recalled asking her.
“She said, ‘Yes, it’s my biological father. He’s the one who hooked me on heroin so he could continue to rape me whenever he wanted to.’ ”
The Protestant chaplain has consoled about 50 pregnant rape victims - typically girls raped by their fathers - in his years working with the Phoenix Police Department.
South describes himself as “pro-life,” but when it comes to dealing with a girl or woman impregnated by a rapist, he keeps his personal views to himself.
“I don’t give them a lecture or preach at them,” South said. “I’ve seen crimes beyond comprehension.”
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock stirred controversy during a debate in Indiana Tuesday when he said pregnancies from rape are “something that God intended to happen.” The instant reaction in political circles was predictable: Democrats decried him, and many conservative Republicans defended his position as steadfastly “pro-life.”
But theologians were quick with a more nuanced approach, saying the issue of pregnancies from rape strikes at the core of a timeless question: How do you explain evil in a world where God is loving?
That said, many expressed outright dismay by Mourdock’s remarks.
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South wanted to know what Bible Mourdock reads because “what he’s saying is absolutely wrong. It’s not biblical.”
The police chaplain said pregnancies from rape aren’t meant to be politicized and said the victims suffer from physical and mental wounds and are often suicidal. About 60% of the time, South surmised from his experience, the women or girls choose to give the baby up for adoption, as long as they never see the child at birth.
“I hurt for these kids,” he said. “Rape is evil.”
Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of the best-selling book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” said Mourdock’s remarks were off-base: “He’s invoking the will of God where it is not appropriate."
People “should have compassion for the person whose life is messed up by this and not make her an instrument for our idiosyncratic, theological commitment,” Kushner said.
“If you believe she has no right to terminate that pregnancy, you're free to believe that,” Kushner said. “But for you to write your preferences into law and compel another person to mess her life up because of what you believe, I think you're going too far.”
“I continue to be bemused by the ultraconservative lawmakers who say they want smaller government and less government intrusion into people’s lives, except when it comes to who you can marry and how many children you should have.”
Plenty of liberal Christians bemoaned how Mourdock was being perceived by some as the face of American Christianity.
"Once again, expressions of Christian faith that honor the rights of women to choose their own health care options and what happens to their bodies are not seen or heard," wrote the Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, who pastors the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ of Frederick, Maryland, in a message that she circulated via email.
"The lack of another voice, another perspective, another vision from the Christian community leaves an impression that all Christians share this single perspective about pregnancy through rape," she wrote.
Father Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he found Mourdock’s comments troubling from a Catholic perspective because “God does not want rape to happen.”
“Someone getting pregnant through rape simply means biology continues to function,” Reese said. “That doesn’t mean God wills it.
“If we look at the Scriptures, we see a God who weeps with those going through pain, who is compassionate for those who suffer and condemns those who do injustice,” Reese said
During the Tuesday debate, Mourdock was explaining his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest when he made his remark. “I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” said Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer.
Amid the uproar Wednesday, Mourdock sought to clarify his comments, saying he was sorry if he offended anyone but said his comments were twisted and distorted for political gain. “The God that I worship would never, ever want to see evil done,” he said.
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Paul Root Wolpe, the director for the Center of Ethics at Emory University, said Mourdock’s comments were the equivalent “of saying you shouldn't pull people out of the rubble because God intended the earthquake to happen or we shouldn't try to cure disease because it's God who gave us the disease,” Wolpe said.
"That perspective was theologically rejected by virtually every major religion a long, long time ago,” Wolpe added.
Mourdock has been an active member of Christian Fellowship Church in Evansville, Indiana, for nearly two decades, according to Mike Deeg, the executive pastor of the 2,000-plus member nondenominational evangelical church.
Mourdock has gone on missions trips with a group connected to the church to Bolivia and is well-regarded among congregants Deeg said.
Deeg says the church tries to remain largely out of politics. “We don’t think God is Republican or a Democrat,” he said by phone from Evansville, noting they encourage members to vote, the church just doesn’t say for whom.
The pastor said of what he has read about Mourdock’s remarks, they largely lined up with the church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and their belief that life begins at conception.
“I think rape is a horrible thing, and I think God would condemn rape as horrible,” Deeg said. “I think we’re made in the image of God regardless,” he added, “I don’t think the circumstances dictate whether God knows us and loves us, regardless of how our conception comes about.”
South, the chaplain in Phoenix, said the 12-year-old girl he met years ago opted for an abortion and her father was ultimately convicted of rape. He said he grappled often with “why she was subjected to such horrendous pain and torture, mentally, physically and emotionally.”
“Did it shake my faith? No,” South said. “Did I ask God why? Of course.”
CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report
Christians must realize that we don't all believe what they do. Biden had it right when he said he is personally against abortion but would not impose his personal view on others. Now, consider an woman who happens to be an atheist. She should have the right to choose whose genes will merge with hers which will result in her baby. It is immoral to say that a rapist gets to choose for her (or for anyone). If the GOP wins the White House and Congress, Roe v Wade will be overturned and abortion made illegal. It really can happen. Romney has said he will appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. Republicans are in favor of the "personhood" amendment and Romney said he would sign it. We can't let that happen. Most real economists say we will create 12 million jobs in the next 5 years. Need to vote on social issues and preserve our rights.
The minority will be done dictating their sins to the majority on November 7th. Kiss your sinful rights goodbye. Romney / Ryan 2012
Ronald and pervert alert need to stop struggling and just give in to all the hot sweaty manlove they want with each other.
if it can be gods will, cant it be the devils will also? think id rather abort with those odds
In the 1600's the Calvinists believed in complete predestination and the idea that Fate was all pre-Ordained. The GOP wan'ts to go back to those days, which, ironically, didn't also included slavery and no women voting. It was the time of Lords and Serfs. The Lords had all the money, and the Serfs were expected to behave as they were told. They could be tossed of the land for whatever reason. Hmmmmm, sounds a lot like what the GOP is trying to achieve now, doesn't it?
"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God..."
But I bet this Mourdock idiot eats meat.
Conservatives are just too loathsome and ignorant to even deal with now days, they should be shunned by society and sent back to the caves they cower in.
On November 7 not only will conservatives rule this land but Tea Party conservatives. Drop your sin ridden head between your knees and kiss your silly ass goodbye. Romney / Ryan 2012
Republicans are becomming the Morlocks from the science fiction movie Time Machine.
They have been inbred to the point of not even looking like human beings anymore.
You can stop the telltale signs of it too.
A creepy white skin palor, kinda like a corpse, eyes that are a bit too close together, a larger head, an obese boby that is flabby and sickly, and a perpetual diet coke can in their hand. All the repubs I know drink cases of diet coke daily.
They are some creepy people, and that is not even counting the religion part of it.
Let's look at this from an objective perspective. If God is all powerful he can choose to rid the universe of all evil.....Satan and all his minions..... whenever he feels like it. Either he chooses not to do so OR he he is not all powerful and can't rid the world of all evil. Either way....the ball is in his court....NOT ours.
What you describe is a work in progress. Complete at the cross and awaiting the fullness of time.
"cristopher hitchens" degenerates to:
"Douglas" degenerates to:
"pervert alert" degenerates to:
"Taskmaster" degenerates to:
"Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degenerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"tina" degenerates to:
"captain america" degenerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"nope" degenerates to:
"WOW" degenerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.
Prayer changes things ,
That 12 year old girl that got killed for her bike by two teenage punks earlier this week, in her last minute as she prayed to your god for her life to be spared, what changed for her?
No it doesn't, you are such a liar.
And all the rest of that guys rebuttal to you, fool.
Prayer changes nothing...there is no god to pray to.
like rain dances change the weather.
Were you there?Please tell everyone how it is you know what happened. I think you are exploiting the misfortunes of that child to boost your own selfish ego and opinion. I do not think you have a clue as to those events. In short shame on you.
God lets bad people kill at will.
The devoted say it’s because of “free will”.
Then why do they pray, and pray, and pray?
For god to help them, day after day?
They pray to god to improve their fate
Their own free will they ask god to negate
“Free will” for us all…, from the god of peace!
Who sends us to hell for a wrong belief.
You are rediculously misinformed about the God of the universe if that is what you think
So if you are so informed, then please provide some proof of this god you speak of.
And we won't take magic as proof.
The Lord Jesus.
Saying it's god's will is the same as saying it's god's will that your child was run over by a car.
Well, enough taunting of the cultists – I'm out. Peace and try to be good humans!
This guy doesn't know much about anatomy nor how sperm think.
So if a woman elects to keep a rapists' baby because she's pregnant by god's will, and that baby turns out to be gay, is that still god's will?
No according to the GOP that kid will now burn in hell because a 2,000 year old book says that being gay is wrong.
No because God's Will only applies when it helps their political ideaology.
Shit that's right, I forgot. It's sacred life until it's born, then screw it.
No one is born qu eer, sin is a learned process. qu eers the people who gave the world AIDS.
What's your excuse then, pervy?
No one is born qu eer, sin is a learned process. qu eers the people who gave the world AIDS."
ok i know you are a troll but boy you are a fool.
Pervy talks like a practiced cockgobbler.
The reason the GOP doesn't believe in evolution is because they still haven't evolved.
If you consider all the abrahamic brain burn religions came to beleive in an all powerful god it was because they spent generations wandering under an unforgiving sun, which colored all their concepts of belief. In fact there is no GOD, it is an atificial construct. Religions formed in fertile geographies have no single God, see Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto etc etc. When you grasp the reality of this, you see how it is possible to construct a belief system in fact based on a false premise, which means you have wasted a lot of time and effort making much ado about nothing.
You are forgetting that those Abrahamic religions were are based on earlier religions from that region.
I am sure you are onto something in terms of the hardships those people faced influencing their belief system, but so much of what is in the bible and koran and torah is ripped off from others.
This is GOD 101, be ready,
Yep there is no God, that is the common "conceptual" god defined by almost all religions.
When you define or conceptualize God then your limiting Him and thus making Him not god.
However there is a term almost equivalent to God, it is "ALL".
Note that "everything" is not enough, since those are just things, say emotions, thoughts, spirits?, energies
are also parts of the ALL.
How about gods?, yes maybe there are higher spiritual beings that are called gods, maybe
have powers that can directly or indirectly influence the environment and human lives, but they
too limited and imperfect.
–=And so I don't have a religion, but a life of helping other beings in need=–
What if go and shoot Mourdock in the head, would'nt that also be the so called "will of god".
That's what lots of Conservatives thought when Gabrielle Giffords got shot in the head. Plenty where actually very happy about it. I know because my mom still lives down in the Belt.
Well, by what I have been able to discern of fundie logic, god only gets credit for the good things people do.
When someone does something good, then it was by divine design by the sky fairy.
But when someone does something bad, then it was totally that person's free will.
I have gathered from the fundies here and the ones at work, is that god only plays puppet master for the good things.
The Republican party collided with sanity...
Couldn't have hurt them much; they're repulsed by sanity.
Mourdock’s remarks is like saying,"Its OK for rapists to get women pregnant because its the will of GOD". BS! Whats more surprising is that Mitt Romney continues to support Mourdock while distancing himself from his remarks. Well Mitt, you can not have it both ways! You are a man without principles or putting it in a religious terms, you sold your soul to the devil!
What he is saying is that God will deal with the rapist, but He will also deal with you if you decide to become a murderer of the unborn.
If God deals with these things then why do we have laws, courts, and jails?
There is no harm in sending these folks for judgment a few years early.
And what does that make a miscarriage? Manslaughter?
Do you believe in the age of accountability doctrine?
I know you are just trying to a trap me in a liberal verbal trap, but yes, I do agree with it.
Why is it acceptable to kill a human child who committed no offense?
Wow, bringing in politics where it wasn't even mentioned. Really goes to show where your motivations truly lie.
Sounds more like a lack of confidence in your divine justice to me. More to the point, divine justice sounds more like a happy dream to people living in a world where real justice isn't always given out. Probably explains why ideas like God and Heaven appeal so much to the poor and lower class. For many, what else do they have to look forward to?
One Bible verse's take on "killing" the unborn:
“And if men struggle and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
Because its not a human child, its a fetus... HUGE different... its like saying you're killing a bird every time you eat an egg... Is it a potential human? sure... is it a living breathing human? Not in the text book expatiation of what "human" is.
What happens you're wrong, and there is a God? Why would you risk eternal damnation? Why do you care so little about your soul?
Pascal's wager is a flawed argument for belief. What happens if you get to heaven and realize that you should have been worshiping Allah?
That's why you have to have faith. No matter what, your words cannot shake my faith in Jesus and God. I have no doubt in my mind that the only way to salvation is through our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you have as much faith in your barren, godless world?
Morality based on fear of punishment pretty much negates the purpose.
Tell that to your children or pets. If they don't fear you, you won't be able to teach them anything.
I'm telling it to you, in the hopes that you'll be afraid of me, and then obey when I tell you to fuck off.
What if you are wrong and you have wasted all time and money supporting your sky fairy myth?
How about we do this;
You fundies can howl at the moon all you like, but you stay out of our lives and our classrooms and our medicine and our courtrooms and our government. Howl all you want, and save your souls, but don't force us to howl along with you.
Why do you think that you even have a soul that will live on after you die? Injury and drugs can alter people's personalities because they alter the brain. Kill or damage the brain and what you call that person's "soul" is changed, or just gone. That's what all the evidence says, do you have any that suggests otherwise?
You can throw away your soul, but I have a moral obligation to save the souls of the willing, that includes your children.
Except no, no you don't... you have NO moral obligation to save anyone's souls... that's YOUR belief and yours alone between you and your god. This is the problem I have with religion in general... You have NO right to push it on anyone else.... Your own bible says God gave you free will to believe what you want and follow your own path.. so follow it and stop trying to herd people into thinking and being who you want them to be. If you want to follow Jesus, Allah, Budda, Gods and goddess... that's your own choice and should never be pushed onto others.
I'd tell him he's doin' a s%t job!
"Tell that to your children or pets. If they don't fear you, you won't be able to teach them anything."
What a bizarre idea. My children are doing just fine without fearing me.
Sure I have faith. I have faith in my wife. I have faith in my friends. I have faith in my country. Ultimately I have faith in humanity. Additionally my faith is backed by evidence. What supports your faith?
@Sam, My seeing eye dog has ZERO fear of me, absolutely ZERO, yet she has yet to fail to lead me properly any and every place I have asked her to lead me. Actually that critter has something BETTER than fear, she has LOVE for me, and I will take her love over any kind of fear that she may have for me, any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
We have a moral obligation to instill a moral sense into our children. Unfortunately, many people are lazy and just hand their kids the Bible, as thought that book actually covers most of the moral situations we have in today's society.
There is the nut of the problem with folks like you, you think fear teaches. My parents lied to me with religion and deep down I always knew it was lies, so it affected my respect for my parents. If they lie about this, how can you trust them on anything else?
My children don't fear me cuz I never lied to them. About me, about the universe, about themselves, no fables, no fantasies, just truth. Now they are both educated scientists making a positive difference in the world and both atheists by choice. I didn't have to indoctrinate them like you did your kids cuz I didn't lie, you did. Terrible. Religion should be regulated like alcohol since it damages developing brains. You are a sicko. You teach fantasy as fact to children. Sick!
Here let's do this, let's agitate for science to be taught in churches in order for them to keep their tax exemptions. How bout that? Hmmm? You would have to fear that movement cuz if kids are in church when the scientist DOESN"T lie to them and the priest, their parents and their friends do, they'll understand the truth about religion and won't be afraid, won't be brainwashed like you are. How do you like the thought of people picketing outside your ridiculous church to have science taught there? I might just start doing that, sounds like fun! If you have the monopoly on truth you think you do it shouldn't be a problem right? Cept kids know when they's being lied to....so they'd run from you.
"Tell that to your children or pets. If they don't fear you, you won't be able to teach them anything."
Didn't you forget to add your wife to that list. How would you make her fear you? On second thought, I really don't want to know.
OK Sam, well the muslims say they have a moral obligation to convert you to islam.
If you won't convert then they are morally justified in killing you.
Are they correct in thinking they have that right to do that?
If not, which I am assuming you will say, then why do you have the moral right to convert my kids, or anyone's kids to what you believe?
I think you would make a great muslim, Sam I am.
Sam that is like saying I better believe in Santa Clause because I might not get any presents. There is zero evidence. The book was written by man, sorry to say no God involved. How do people still believe a book written over 2,000 years ago, when we thought the world was the center of the Universe and that it was flat. Come on people it's 2012, let’s give it up and be loving and caring because it's the right things to do not because if you don't God will punish you. Really? Ridicules I say!
Yo, message to all you fundies out there: Believe whatever helps you sleep at night, but I'll just bet if she was your daughter who'd become pregnant by a rapist you'd sing an entirely different tune
especially if the rapist was do we dare say black
Naa, they'd just get them to marry their ra.pist.
take the canoli
Blacks are more socially conservative. So no they'd probably keep the baby.
I'll be the first to say that I am not a huge Obama fan however comments like this make me sick. My hope is Obama wins this election because of comments like this from the far right. The GOP needs to realize we don't live in the dark ages anymore.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.